The dazzling jewelled walls of a Russian cathedral.
The soaring ceiling of a New York subway station. The rustic charm of a centuries-old Italian home. A corridor of stars. Inspiring interior designs can be found anywhere, sometimes where you least expect it. Classic or contemporary, sumptuous or spare, good design is integral to good living. And on every Viking journey, you can discover beautifully designed interiors – and objects – both on board your ship and in the destinations you visit. Join us as we celebrate the joy of design.
SAGRADA FAMILIA, BARCELONA
If you only see one building in Barcelona, see Antoni Gaudí’s magnificent Sagrada Familia. None of the surfaces are flat. Abstract shapes combine smooth curves and jagged points. The stone staircases are extraordinary, as is the nave which towers into the heavens, its pillars branching out like a stone forest of trees. The exterior is equally inspiring. When Gaudí was asked why he paid so much attention to the tops of the spires when no would see them, he answered: “The angels will see them.”
MAXINE & JESSE WHITNEY MUSEUM, VALDEZ
Alaska’s native art is rich and diverse. In Valdez, the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum houses an important collection of cultural arts and artefacts. Much of Alaska’s tribal artworks focuses on its totem poles, but sometimes it’s the smaller, simpler objects that tell a more personal story; a handmade child’s doll, a sewing needle of bone, colourful beaded moccasins. These everyday objects recall a time and a place so far away, yet so universally familiar, that you cannot help be enthralled.
CHURCH OF THE SAVIOUR ON SPILLED BLOOD, ST. PETERSBURG
With so many incredible buildings on our Viking Homelands journey through Scandinavia and the Baltic, how do you choose just one? We narrowed the choice to the one place that quite literally leaves you speechless – the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg. It is completely spellbinding. Every square inch of space is decorated in the most extraordinary art and mosaics, using gold leaf and semi-precious stones. The effect is that the whole place shines. See it and be awed.
TRULLI HOUSES, ALBEROBELLO
We could have chosen the beautifully preserved Roman city of Herculaneum. We could have chosen the opulent rooms of Venice’s Doge’s Palace. Both of which are highlights on our Italian Sojourn ocean cruise. Instead we chose the 14th-century trulli houses in the village of Alberobello. Beautifully simple and simply beautiful, trulli are tiny, beehive-shaped dwellings, with white-tipped conical roofs. Step inside the thick stone walls and you’ll find it pleasantly cool, and its rustic simplicity cosy and welcoming.
ALCÁZAR DE COLÓN, SANTO DOMINGO
In the historic heart of Columbia’s oldest city sits the 16th-century Alacázar de Colón. Originally the home of Diego Columbus, the governor of the colony and Christopher Columbus’ son, the palace is an exceptional example of Spanish Colonial architecture. Now a museum, its many rooms and open-air loggias are decorated with paintings, tapestries and antique furnishings. What courtiers would have once swept across these stone floors and entertained such distinguished visitors as Cortés and Balboa? Imagine.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, SYDNEY
Few buildings are more instantly recognisable than the Sydney Opera House. And there is no more spectacular way to approach this than through Sydney Harbour. The gleaming white sails of Jørn Utzon’s design are different from every angle, and through different times of the day. The iconic building is home to seven performance venues, each one an inspiring place to watch – and listen – to live music and theatre.
ELEPHANTA CAVES, MUMBAI
On Gharapuri (renamed Elephanta Island by the Portuguese) near Mumbai is a labyrinth of cave temples. Hewn from solid rock, the UNESCO-listed complex was created between AD 450 and 750. It consists of a network of chambers, halls, pillars, courtyards and shrines and is described as a “masterpiece of Gupta-Chalukyan art”. The most important sculpture in the caves is the Trimurti, a 20ft-high image depicting a three-faced Shiva, as the destroyer, creator and preserver of the universe. Truly awesome.
JIM THOMPSON HOUSE, BANGKOK
The former home of American silk entrepreneur, Jim Thompson, is actually a collection of six houses linked together. The previously derelict Thai homes were shipped along the river and reassembled in their current location along the Klong canal. Jim wanted to build a house based on the traditional Thai style. And from the elevated doorways (elevated to keep the bad spirits out) to the outdoor hallways and merging of indoor and outdoor space, it feels wonderfully open, and super-cool – in more ways than one.
OCEAN DRIVE, MIAMI
The style capital of Florida, Miami boasts an incredible variety of architecture, including the Art Deco masterpieces that line Ocean Drive on South Beach. The candy-coloured buildings are symbolic of Miami’s colourful culture. Take a stroll and stop for a drink or a meal in one of the restaurants or bars. You may also like to visit the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, once the home of the industrialist James Deering. The Italian Renaissance-style villa is a complete contrast to Miami’s pastel-coloured confections.
THE OCULUS AND 9/11 MEMORIAL & MUSEUM, NEW YORK
Yes, it’s a sobering experience but this sacred, powerful memorial that honours the lives of those who were lost is inspiring. The underground museum space has been built within remnants of the original World Trade Centre. Outside, two enormous waterfalls flow into two pools, around which are carved the names of those who died. Equally extraordinary is the Oculus, the World Trade Centre Transportation Hub, a mind-boggling glass-and-steel structure to look like a dove in flight. The vast, pure white interior of the main hall is like a modern-day cathedral, with light pouring through the ribbed ceiling. And, just like in a cathedral, the effect is incredibly moving.